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Graffiti cleanup, repairs already underway at Idaho Falls park

By By Caleb James, Reporter
Published On: May 17 2013 12:34:03 AM CDT

Caleb James reports.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

After just one week, the Idaho Falls Equal Access Park is already getting new life.
     
Last Thursday, our station told viewers about vandalism and broken equipment at the park.
     
Through community and city response, the park is getting a lot of attention.

"I had been called by a few individuals who had seen tagging at the playground, and I didn't know what to do about it," said Idaho Falls mom Amy Schmutz. "Then I saw your news story."
 
Simple, said Schmutz, is the word that comes to mind when the community sees a problem, and quickly moves in to fix it.
     
"We had a lot of volunteers from the community," said Schmutz, as she flipped through a scrapbook of pictures taken when the park was built.
 
Schmutz was on the original committee to build the Equal Access Park six years ago.
     
"This is the process of the mural being painted," Schmutz said, looking at more photos.

Schmutz's 80-year-old mom -- a former artist for Mattel -- painted the mural we showed viewers covered in graffiti last week. On Thursday night, it's been cleaned, and soon, her mom will be back to restore it.
     
"I think it's exciting that the city acted so quickly on this," said Schmutz.
 
Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation director Greg A. Weitzel said the graffiti isn't the only thing being fixed.
     
"We contacted the manufacturer of this slide," said Weitzel. "It's still under warranty, so they'll be sending us a new slide."

The broken latches on the swings?
     
"They're $35 a piece. They're minimal. So we've already ordered those," said Weitzel.

Weitzel said a volunteer team from the INL has offered to take the park cleanup even further.
     
"We're working with the INL volunteers to apply for some grants," said Weitzel. "What we'd like to do is concrete this, put in a shelter, and bring in some musical instruments we haven't placed yet."
 
For Schmutz, it's simple. But sometimes simple can mean so much.
     
"All of these memories, about the playground, are right here," said Schmutz, looking through her scrapbook.

The INL volunteer team already has 100 volunteers.

Organizer Reva Nickelson is looking for more. She can be contacted via e-mail at nickelra@cableone.net. 

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